A Prey?

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I don’t know how many times I have read this verse or run across it somewhere, but each time that one little word as always presented a question mark. But until now I have never really understood it’s meaning here other than its definition.

Jer 45:5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the Lord: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest. KJV

But when you go to Hebrew text the meaning (from and English perspective) becomes clearer:

Jer 45:5 And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. For, behold, I will bring evil on all flesh, declares Jehovah. But I will give your soul to you for a prize, there on all the places where you go. Masoretic Text

But that still doesn’t explain it so let’s look at The New Living Translation:

Jer 45:5 “Baruch, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. 5 Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!'” NLT

To sort this out let’s go back one verse:

 Jer 45:4 “Baruch, this is what the Lord says: I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. NLT

Baruch was Jeremiah’s secretary for a long time and verses 4 and 5 are directed to him. He had complained about Jeremiah’s prophetic message to Israel that He was going to destroy and uproot what He had planted. Bear with me and let’s go back two more verses and I think we will get the message that is being directed to us today.

Jer 45:2-3 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: 3 You said, ‘Woe is me! for the Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest. RSV

The heart of the issue is found in Baruch’s use of five personal pronouns (not to be confused with the silliness of today) that capture self-involvement; “No one else’s woe is as bad as mine. No one else’s sorrow is as bad as my sorrow.” His response is reflective of the self-centeredness of all humanity, especially when under stress like today in light of verse 4 … many are wondering at this very moment about what is going on in America, let alone the world.

Like Baruch, many today have forgotten how big the “business” of God really is, and Jerimiah’s response is quite applicable today … Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! If you have not accomplished greatness in this lifetime it doesn’t mean you are a failure. This is not all about you! I will bring great disaster upon all these people. 

This is the same perspective from which Paul wrote:

Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ESV

But in the context of God’s economy, Baruch’s woes (our woes) and his seemingly unfulfilled life (our unfulfilled life) pale in comparison to God’s final glory when it is revealed. What he is going through (what we are going through) are not worth a moment’s attention. On that day, at that moment, we along with Baruch will say … what woe, what suffering! To that end we are certain that God will take care of each of His children. And there’s that word again…

Jer 45:5 … but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.

A prey or spoil is that which is gained from a vanquished enemy, so it is preserved with pleasure as the proof and reward of a man’s own valor. And for the bride of Christ that prey, that prize, that reward, is that our “life,” our spiritual life. It will never be lost no matter where we go or what we go through. We do not have to fear the enemy, his war has already be lost. Our path is clear …

Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ESV

When we are serving the Lord and His bride, we are never to seek great things for ourselves. The only important thing is that God’s work is accomplished and He is glorified. And when the fiery trial comes … our life will be given unto us for a prey! 

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